40 years ago, on February 18, 1984, the Concordat was signed between the Italian State and the Catholic Church. The evening before, Prime Minister Bettino Craxi brought together his collaborators Giuliano Amato and Gennaro Acquaviva to discuss the text. Having read the last draft of the text, the Prime Minister stood up, walked around the table, and asked for forgiveness in front of a portrait of Garibaldi at Palazzo Chigi.
The leader of the PSI had entrusted the dossier on the revision of the Concordat to the Catholic-socialist Acquaviva and the motion giving the Prime Minister the mandate to close the agreement was approved in the Chamber on January 28, 1984. The document was signed twenty days later at Villa Madama by the Vatican Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli and Craxi himself.
The objective of the Concordat was to adapt the agreement between the State and the Church to the principles of the Constitution. The state religion was abolished, and the Church accepted that religious teaching in schools is not compulsory. The direct financial support of the State for priests was abolished and the eight per thousand financing system was introduced. The State also renounced any claim to control over the internal life of the Church. For its part, the Church’s activities which cannot be traced back to cult or religious purposes are subject to ordinary taxation.